Oh heck, even those of us who've been here for a while get a case of the overwhelms now and then.
The bacteria you're trying to grow comes from fish poo and pee. I mean, it's not in there but it grows in response to the ammonia that comes from waste. That's why it was suggested you add the fish in. It won't grow without it.
Usually if people are doing a fish out cycle they use real ammonia and add it to the tank daily and monitor with a test kit to keep track of it's cycle. It goes from poo to ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. When you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and a nitrate reading (you should try and keep it under 20ppm) then your tank is cycled.
Google fishless cycle and you can find tutorials and instructions on how to do it. It might be in the stickies here too (aplogies for not knowing if it is. :D)